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Cyber Bullying Policy

Cyber Bullying Policy may 2021

Bullying is not new, but some features of cyber bullying are different from other forms of bullying. Cyberbullying is the use of ICT, particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone. All suspicions should be reports to a member of the pastoral team as soon as possible. 

It can happen 24/7 and is an invasion of home/personal space.

Cyber bullying can take place at any time and can intrude into spaces that have previously been regarded as safe or personal.

People who cyber bully may attempt to remain anonymous.

This can be extremely distressing for those being bullied. The person cyber bullying may never be in the same physical space as their target.

Some instances are known to be unintentional.

Cyberbullying can be the result of not thinking (something sent as a joke may be deeply upsetting or offensive to the recipient) or a lack of awareness of the consequences - for example saying something negative.

What should we as individuals do about it?

  • Always respect others - be careful what you say online and what images you send.
  • Think before you send - whatever you send can be made public very quickly and could stay online forever.
  • Treat your password like your toothbrush - keep it to yourself. Only give your mobile number or personal website address to trusted friends.
  • Block the bully - learn how to block or report someone who is behaving badly.
  • Don't retaliate or reply!
  • Save the evidence - learn how to keep records of offending messages, pictures or online conversations.
  • Make sure you tell: an adult you trust, or call a helpline like ChildLine on 0800 1111 in confidence; the provider of the service; check the service.
  • Finally, don't just stand there - if you see cyber bullying going on, support the victim and report the bullying.

What can we, as a school, do to help?

At Park High School we will do 3 things:

  • Support the person being cyber bullied
  • Investigate incidents
  • Work with the cyber bully and implement sanctions

Park High School recognises the differences between cyber bullying and other forms of bullying, for example:

  • It is the invasion of home and personal space and can be perpetuated at any time
  • The audience can be large and reached rapidly
  • People who cyber bully have a perception of anonymity
  • Bystanders to cyber bullying can easily become perpetuators - for example, by passing on text messages
  • Some instances of cyber bullying are known to be unintentional (bulling is usually intentional)
  • Many cyber bullying incidents can themselves create an electronic record that may act as evidence.

Bullying can also be related to a young person's home circumstances, appearance, or health conditions. Park High School acknowledges that bullying behaviour can and does occur anywhere and everywhere; in the home, within the community and in other settings and all members of the school community pupils, teachers and ancillary workers can all fall victim to bullying.

Although bullying can occur between individuals, it can often take place in the presence (virtually or physically) of others who become the "bystanders" or "accessories". In cyber bullying, bystanders can easily become perpetrators - by passing on or showing to others images designed to humiliate or taking part in online polls or discussion groups. Pupils may not recognise themselves as participating in bullying, but their involvement compounds the misery for the person targeted. They will be made aware that their actions can have severe and distressing consequences and that participating in such activity will not be tolerated.

Cyber Bullying and the Law

Education Law:

The school community has a duty to protect all its members and provide a safe, healthy environment. The Education and Inspections Act 2006 (EIA 2006) outlines legal powers which relate directly to cyber bullying. The EIA also provides a defence for school staff in confiscating items such as mobile phones from pupils.

Civil and Criminal Law:

There are laws that apply to harassing or threatening behaviour, or menacing and threatening communications. Some cyber bullying activities could be criminal offences under different laws:

  • The Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • The Malicious Communications Act 1988
  • Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003
  • The Public Order Act 1986